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Positively Cincinnati: Teacher gets a life-saving gift from colleague down the hall

Both recovering from transplant surgery
Posted at 7:09 PM, Mar 04, 2020

BUTLER, Ky. — Last week’s Positively Cincinnati followed Robin Reis, the Northern Elementary School teacher who needed a kidney transplant, and her colleague, Jessica Murrell, the donor match who ended up being just down the hall.

“It's just so selfless,” Reis told WCPO last week. “She's selfless.”

Now, Murell’s selfless offer has become a reality as she and Reis underwent the life-saving procedure Tuesday.

But the day didn’t pass without some much-deserved fanfare from Northern Elementary students. The day before the big surgery, the school made sure to send off the duo the right way: with cake, T-shirts and lots of love.

Come Tuesday, it was time for the transplant procedure. In side-by-side rooms, medical staff prepped both patients for surgery. Waiting to head to the operating room, Murrell said she felt excited.

“Just excited. No nerves. Not yet. Don't think they're coming,” Murrell said.

Her husband, Justus Murrell, said he’s “very proud” of his wife for “just doing something so courageous.”

That pride isn’t not lost on the Christ Hospital medical staff including transplant surgeon Dr. Latifa Silski.

“This makes your whole week,” Silski said. “Of all the things in the world, people literally give of themselves."

With the help of the hospital team, Murrell made her way to the OR, but not before giving Reis a hallway shoutout. After kisses and hugs, it was soon Reis’s turn on the transplant runway, waving and giving a thumbs up before reminding that the gift of life is important to share.

“Being an organ donor is a really important thing. Lots of people are waiting. Sign up to be a donor … help save lives.”

As of Wednesday night, both Reis and Murrell were recovering from surgery.

There are currently 102,000 people in the U.S. in need of a kidney, and the typical wait for a donor match is four years. For more information about becoming an organ donor, click here.